With wildfires breaking out in the West and tropical storms threatening the East Coast, there’s no telling when a natural disaster may affect your area. When faced with an emergency situation, preparation is the key to ensuring your pet’s safety and security. Here are some important disaster preparation tips in honor of National Pet Preparedness Month, courtesy of Erin Askeland, seasoned dog training and behavior expert at Camp Bow Wow, North America’s largest and most trusted pet care franchise.
- Pack an Emergency Kit – Having a pre-packed “go bag” for your pet can crucial during an emergency; here are the most essential items to remember:
- Vaccination documents – These are crucial to ensuring that your pet will be able to stay at a shelter or hotel in case of evacuation.
- Bottled water – NEVER allow Fido to drink tap water immediately after a storm, as it could be abundant with chemicals and bacteria; be sure to pack plenty of purified / bottled water to keep him hydrated.
- Food – Pack at least 1 weeks’ worth of food (and if you use canned food, don’t forget a can opener).
- Medication – Pack at least 1 weeks’ worth of medication.
- Toys/Blankets – Comfort items like a chew toy and a familiar blanket can keep your pet calm during an emergency, and therefore less likely to act erratically/run off.
- Leash/Collar – For your pet’s safety, always have a leash and collar on-hand.
Have a Safe Haven – If you are away or cannot get to your pet when disaster strikes, find a local dog daycare, friend or pet sitter that can reach your pet. You never want to leave a pet behind in an emergency as they often cannot protect themselves or may end up getting lost. Try and make plans ahead of time to evacuate to somewhere like a pet-friendly hotel or a friend or family’s home that is out of the affected area.
Make Sure Vaccinations are Up to Date – In the event that your pet needs to stay at a shelter, important documents pertaining to vaccinations or medications are crucial. Ensure their vaccinations (including Bordetella) are up to date so you don’t have any issues leaving your pet in a safe place.
Microchip Your Pet – Even when you first get your pet, getting a microchip could be the difference between keeping him/her safe and making them a stray. Microchips allow for veterinarians to scan lost animals to determine their identity so that they are safely returned home. It is important to ensure that your microchip is registered and up to date so if your pet is lost, the correct information is accessible to whoever recovers your pet.
Make Fido Feel at Home – Like humans, pets become stressed when their safety is at risk. Whether you are waiting out a storm and relocating to a different area, be sure to bring their favorite toys and a comfortable bed or cage for proper security. If your pet is prone to anxiety, stress-relieving products, like a dog anxiety vest or natural stress-relieving medication/spray can help ease them in times of emergency.
Identifying Information – If your pet is lost or runs away during an emergency, bring and be able to provide information that will help others find him/her like recent photos, behavioral characteristics or traits. These can help others identify your pet and return them safely to you.
Rescue Alert Sticker – Put a rescue alert sticker on your home to let people know there are pets inside your home. If you are able to take your pets with you, cross out the sticker and put “evacuated” or some other words to let rescue workers that your pet is safely out of your home.
Ease Pets Back Home – Don’t allow Fido to run back into your home or even through your neighborhood once you and your family have returned. Your once familiar home could be disheveled and/or changed, and this can potentially disorient and stress your pet. Keep your pet on a leash and safely ease him/her back home. Make sure they are not eating or picking up anything that could potentially be dangerous, such as downed wires or contaminated water.